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An autobiographical journey of a Sephardic Jewess growing up in the Calcutta Jewish Community of colonial India in the thirties. A series of short stories accompanied by pencil sketches evokes vivid memories of childhood and adolescence under the Raj, set against a shifting background of World War II and Independence - the trams and ghora-gharries of Bentinck Street, the chants of worship during the High Holy Days, the shouts of joy of school children seeing the ocean for the first time, the roar of Spitfires over the emergency air strip in Red Road - all giving a personal insight into the scenes, sights and customs of a community now threatened with extinction.
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It was rewarding to write about real people, like my family and close friends, some of whom, today, can still share the experiences described in the book.
When writing Hooghly Tales I hoped it would have a universal appeal - that it could be anyone's story. After publication, some feedback came from Servicemen in Calcutta during World War II. One wrote in and said, 'there are many parallels in the stories that make us feel like we are reading our own experiences' Then again, non-Jewish persons who had never been in India, observed, 'I could really feel I was in Bentinck Street,' or 'I had no problem with the ethnic words and the bygone age. It was all very easy to understand.' These comments made me feel that Hooghly Tales could be a good read for anybody.
It was very good to hear my children say, 'Mum! We didn't know all that! Why didn't you tell us all this before?' Also, to see my young grandchildren attempting to read their own copies of the book and enjoying the pictures.
In putting down these words on paper and letting them loose on the public, I hope it will do for others what it has done for me - evoke nostalgia for a world that now seems almost fictitious. That charmed life within the boundaries of our community became suffocating only when the human invasion of World War II opened our young eyes to the existence of an exciting world beyond. Hooghly Tales gives us an opportunity to see how these expectations are fulfilled in the present time.About the Author:
Sally Solomon was born in Calcutta and is descended from its first Jewish settler. She graduated from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University, with a B.A.(Hons) degree in English and holds a Teacher's Diploma in Pianoforte, from Trinity College, London. Soon after marriage to Gerald Ezekiel Solomon, a descendant of the Iraqi Khadoories, the family moved to Madras, South India where they raised four children.
Sally Solomon now lives in London and is a freelance writer.
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Book Description David Ashley Publishing, 1998. Condition: New. Alexandra Solomon Angel (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0953172007